Westchester County Third Offense DWI Lawyer
A third conviction for DWI, whether it involves alcohol, drugs, or a combination of the two is a mid-level felony where a conviction requires someone to serve at least ten days in jail. Judges in these scenarios also have the ability to permanently revoke that person’s driver’s license.
A Westchester County third offense DWI lawyer could help you if you are facing these serious charges. An experienced DWI attorney could work to help defeat the prosecutor’s main case alleging driving while under the influence as well as to examine the prosecutor’s ability to charge the incident as a repeat offense.
When may a Prosecutor Bring a DWI Charge as a Third Offense?
The State goes to great lengths to discourage and punish driving under the influence. One of the ways that it does this is to offer enhanced penalties to people convicted of multiple DWI charges.
However, simply having two previous DWI charges on one’s record does not automatically mean that a conviction will be a third offense. Under New York Vehicle and Traffic Code §1193(c), courts may consider a DWI offense as a subsequent offense only if the prior charges resulted in a conviction within the past ten years. As a result, a charge may not constitute a third offense if one or more of the past convictions occurred more than ten years ago.
It is also worth noting that prosecutors examine a driver’s criminal record in other states as well. This is because the law allows courts to count drunk driving convictions in other jurisdictions. A Westchester County lawyer could help individuals understand the charges they are facing in a potential third offense DWI case.
Penalties for a Third Drunk Driving Offense
It is essential that any person facing a third DWI charge take aggressive steps to protect themselves. Unlike a first offense DWI, a third charge is not a misdemeanor level offense. Under New York Vehicle and Traffic Code §1193(c), a third DWI conviction within ten years is a Class D felony.
As a result, a court can sentence someone to as many as seven years in prison. However, courts must sentence someone to a mandatory minimum jail sentence of ten days. In addition to the potential jail time, courts can levy fines of up to $2,000, and administrative fees can also be as much as a few hundred dollars.
Finally, the court will generally suspend a person’s license for at least 18 months upon conviction. However, judges do have the discretion to permanently revoke a license depending on the driver’s record and other aggravating circumstances such as property damage or personal injury. A Westchester County attorney could help evaluate the potential penalties and fight for a positive outcome following DWI charges for a third time.
Can the Prosecutor Mention my Prior Convictions at Trial?
DWI trials work differently than many other legal proceedings. These trials are bifurcated, meaning there are two distinct parts. The first segment of the trial is where the court determines guilt or innocence. If a person is found guilty of a DWI, the sentencing segment will begin.
The state can use evidence in the sentencing phase that is not available during the guilt or innocence phase. This includes making any mention of a prior DWI or providing documentary evidence of a past DWI conviction. This is to prevent a judge or jury from having their views on guilt or innocence tainted by the defendant’s prior arrest history. An attorney in Westchester County could help someone accused of a third DWI offense in both parts of the legal proceedings.
Is it Possible to Beat a Third DWI Charge?
Third offense DWI charges are defensible. Not only is it possible to prevail at trial, it is also not uncommon for these charges to be reduced to a lesser offense or dismissed entirely. Despite that fact, many people feel compelled to plead guilty without speaking to an attorney first. The reality is that the right attorney could have a dramatic impact on the outcome of a drunk driving case.
How a Defense Attorney Could Help in a Drunk Driving Case
An experienced attorney in Westchester County could provide support in many ways during a third offense DWI case. Using their experience, an attorney could assist with obtaining a bond for a person charged with DWI. They could also give that individual a fair assessment of their chances of success at trial.
Plea bargaining is another important role for legal counsel. A lawyer could take active steps to have charges reduced or dismissed, particularly if they develop a strong defense that is likely to lead to an acquittal at trial.
Finally, an attorney could serve as an advocate. This means not only speaking on an individual’s behalf but also appearing for them in court. This could help a defendant avoid missing work when preliminary hearings are scheduled.
A Westchester County Third Offense DWI Lawyer Could Help
A Westchester County third offense DWI lawyer may be able to help you. They can make sure that you understand the penalties and could analyze the State’s case for any weaknesses. They can then present a defense in court designed to protect your freedom and driving privileges. Call today for a consultation to learn more.